A quarter of third level students say money worries are now their biggest concern in college.
Three quarters of them have a job to cope with the costs, working an average of 15 hours a week and earning just over €10 an hour.
A new survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions says more than two thirds of students are struggling financially at college which they say is impacting on their mental health.
Paul Bailey, Head of Communications for the ILCU says skipping lectures to take up a job is pointless: "this defeats the purpose I think of going to college if they have to work so extensively to fund their education, many say they will still be paying back for going to college three years after they leave college. It's a big cost for students and we need to plan ahead in any way they can."